“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NIV
We had some anniversaries this month. April 15 was the day last year that we sold our home. April 18 was when we were issued a building permit for our new home in Trinity Gardens. April 29 marks two years since we bought our Warsaw Avenue property. We are approaching the anniversary of moving into the home on First Avenue. 11 months. It’s amazing how much life can change in less than a year. I was walking the hounds today and my head was filled with thoughts and observations. At one moment, I can feel completely at home like I have lived here all my life. Then the next moment, I suddenly realize that I am the only white guy walking down the street. The only white guy in sight. What am I doing here? I could be anywhere!
I watched a 2 minute video today about justice. I hope you will watch it. It solidified some thoughts for me. The issues of justice and community development seem overwhelming especially from the outside. But as the video clearly states, when you get close to the problem; you meet the people; they become part of your family; then you fight. You don’t see the enormity of the problem. You see individuals who are struggling. You see “an” individual that you can help. Our little church has now met for almost 2 years. We have seen some people come and go. We have seen some people draw close and then push back. We know of folks dealing with spice addiction, with alcoholism, with sexual sin. Has our presence changed anyone? There are many answers to that question, but the ultimate answer is that we can never change anyone. Only Christ can. Only the risen Lord can empower folks to resist temptation and overcome their struggles. But we have been called to be a faithful presence. I remember about two years ago discussing whether we would have our 5pm gathering on a certain Sunday since other events were happening in the morning or perhaps other conflicts. I remember saying, “We will be there to sing a song and read God’s word no matter what. We will be a faithful presence at that building on every Sunday.” That has become a mantra of sorts. Being a faithful presence through good and bad, through ups and downs. We feel called to be here. God is changing us in this process and it is up to Him to change those that we love around us.
This week we were working in the front yard and a man that we know walked by slowly with his cane. He stopped to talk and rambled a little, but said that he was glad we were in the neighborhood. He was glad that I walked around with my hounds. He was glad that we built a house and were “out taking care of it.” He was glad that we and our pastor were involved with our neighbors. He finished his encouragement with a “I love you.”
Faithful presence, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. To God be the glory! Amen.